Buckskin Gulch, CO Dolly Varden Mine Explosion, Jun 1881
A Miner Killed in the Dolly Varden Mine.
JAMES PARKS While Spooning Out a Blast Is Blown Into Atoms.
On Saturday afternoon last, between the hours of two and three, a chocking disaster occurred in Buckskin gulch, at which time a miner, by the name of JAMES PARKS, was blown into atoms. Shortly after two o'clock the miners who were engaged on the Dolly Varden mine came out of the mouth of the tunnel, and awaited the action of a blast that they had just prepared. They remained standing for some minutes, expecting to hear the report, but it did not come. With great caution they descended to see what was wrong, and found that the fuse had refused to work and was out. PARKS was selected by Fate as her victim, and he approached the blast carefully, seeing that there was no fire he procured a spoon and commenced to repair the difficulty. He was working away slowly, and was spooning the fuse out, when there was a tremendous report, and the miners who were farther up the tunnel ran out in the greatest consternation. The report having died away, and the danger being apparently over they returned to the mine. There was but one man missing, and that was PARKS. They knew that he was the victim, and having had no word from him concluded that he must have been killed. They rushed down hastily and there under the pale reflections of their candles they could see limbs and flesh strewn over the rock. It was the remains of PARKS, and the whole truth flashed upon them. The mangled form, was lifted up and taken to the surface, and for several minutes the men were engaged in picking up the portions of the man, and when they finally got all parts together, they placed the remains in a wagon and took them into town where an inquest was held and a verdict was returned that he came to his death from injuries sustained in an explosion.
It appears that when he was working on the blast with the spoon, he went too deep and striking the cap, produced a concussion that brought about instant explosion. His right arm was blown off, and a large hole torn in his side. His face was horribly mangled, and had it not been known by the miners that he was the only man in the mine or vicinity of the blast at the time, they could not have recognized him. His death was instantaneous, and he probably never uttered even a groan after the explosion. PARKS was for some time in this city, where he has many friends living at present. He was about twenty-four years of age, and was a married man. His remains will be sent to Pennsylvania, for interment by the side of dead relatives.
Leadville Democrat Colorado 1881-06-16